Friday, 3 February 2023

Review: These Infinite Threads by Tahereh Mafi

Alizeh is the heir to the Jinn throne and fulfills a long-foretold prophecy of a Jinn sovereign destined to free her people from the half-lives they’ve been forced to live under the rule of humans.

Kamran is the heir to the human throne, and he’s being pressured to marry before he becomes king. When he falls in love with Alizeh and subsequently learns her true identity, he must question everything he’s been taught about Jinn and their future in his kingdom. 

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Publication date: 02/02/2023
Disclaimer: I received an e-arc from the publisher for review

I'm sure all bookworms can agree that the greatest feeling, after finishing a sequel you've been eagerly anticipating, is when it leaves you feeling thoroughly satisfied. One of the best things about this series is the main character, Alizeh. I just adore her so much. She's kind, compassionate, and strong willed. It's been a while since I've loved a main character quite as much as her. Plot wise, this picks up exactly where book one ended. There is a lot of exploring and set up, which leaves room for an action packed finale. The secondary characters were great, from Omid and Hazan to (unexpectedly) Miss Huda. 

I won't lie. The thing I was most nervous about when going into These Infinite Threads was what direction the romance would take. I wasn't a fan of the romance between Kamran and Alizeh in the This Woven Kingdom as it was too insta-lovey for me. Especially on the side of Kamran. I was more interested in getting to know Cyrus, the mysterious character we're introduced to towards the end of the first book. I mean I was already shipping them and they hardly even had any page time! Well, my wish was answered, we get to know more about him in this book as Alizeh is whisked away to his kingdom. And chapter 23. Wow, is all I'll say. Still, I have to admit that I'm scared about the final book in the trilogy. I have no idea how the romance is going to play out, especially as Mafi did me dirty with the romance in Unravel Me, I just pray that's not the case here. 

These Infinite Threads was definitely was one of my favourite books of 2022. The wait for book three is going to be painful! 

Rating:


Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Review: Dragonfall by L.R. Lam

Long ago, humans betrayed dragons, stealing their magic and banishing them to a dying world. Centuries later, their descendants worship dragons as gods. But the 'gods' remember, and they do not forgive.

Thief Arcady scrapes a living on the streets of Vatra. Desperate, Arcady steals a powerful artifact from the bones of the Plaguebringer, the most hated person in Lumet history. Only Arcady knows the artifact's magic holds the key to a new life among the nobles at court and a chance for revenge.

The spell connects to Everen, the last male dragon foretold to save his kind, dragging him through the Veil. Disguised as a human, Everen soon learns that to regain his true power and form and fulfil his destiny, he only needs to convince one little thief to trust him enough to bond completely–body, mind, and soul–and then kill them.

Yet the closer the two become, the greater the risk both their worlds will shatter.

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πŸ“Œ Publication date: 02/05/2023
πŸ“Œ Disclaimer: I received an e-arc from the publisher from review 

A fantasy book about dragons? Yes, please! 

Told from two alternating points of view, Dragonfall is one of the better dragon books I've read. For me, it's up there with The Aurelian Cycle by Rosaria Munda. Arcady's chapters are told in third person, whereas Everen's chapters are told in first person. The first person POV might not work for everyone, but it worked for me. There's also occasionally a third point of view. 

Everen is the last male dragon, prophesied to save his kind from the dying land humans banished them to. Arcady is an orphaned thief who is determined to find out the truth behind the death of the Plaguebringer. When she steals a powerful artifact her path collides with Everen's. There begins a slow burn enemies to lovers to enemies dynamic.  I admit I shipped them quite early on. I mean, the quips? The relationship development? So good!

The writing style wasn't my favourite, although I did get used to it after a while. I also felt that there was a lack of exploration into the magic system and world. Hopefully there will be more world building in the sequel. 

Rating: 

Saturday, 10 December 2022

Review: Five Survive by Holly Jackson

Eight hours.
Six friends.
One sniper . . .

Eighteen year old Red and her friends are on a road trip in an RV, heading to the beach for Spring Break. It’s a long drive but spirits are high. Until the RV breaks down in the middle of nowhere. There’s no mobile phone reception and nobody around to help. And as the wheels are shot out, one by one, the friends realise that this is no accident. There’s a sniper out there in the dark watching them and he knows exactly who they are. One of the group has a secret that the sniper is willing to kill for.

A game of cat-and-mouse plays out as the group desperately tries to get help and to work out which member of the group is the target. Buried secrets are forced to light in the cramped, claustrophobic setting of the RV, and tensions within the group will reach deadly levels. Not everyone will survive the night. 

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πŸ“Œ Disclaimer: I received an audiobook from the publisher for review

I wanted to read Five Survive because I enjoyed Holly Jackson's debut, A Good Girl's Guide to Murder.

Five Survive is about six friends who are on their way to the beach during Spring Break. After taking a wrong turn they suddenly find themselves stranded as someone shoots out the wheels of their RV. The only way out? One of them must reveal the secret they've been hiding. 

For a story that takes place over eight hours this should have been fast paced and exciting. Unfortunately, I thought it was boring and would have struggled to get through it if I had been reading the physical book. However, I listened to it on audiobook while doing other things which helped. Although Five Survive was well narrated, I found that when I paused it the only reason I felt compelled to continue was so I could finish it, which is never a good sign.

As for the characters, although none of them stood out to me, I think they were pretty well developed considering the story takes place over a short period. Even though it was far fetched, the best part of the book and what saved it was the plot twist and ending. It leaves room for a potential sequel and I will admit that I am curious about the direction Jackson will take the story if she does decide to continue it. 

Rating:

Thursday, 8 December 2022

This Books Kills by Ravena Guron

"I'll make it clear from the start: I did not kill Hugh Henry Van Boren.

I didn't even help. Well, not intentionally."

When Hugh Henry Van Boren, one of the most popular and richest kids in Jess Choudhary's school, is found dead, the student body is left reeling and wondering who the murderer could be... Jess, a student under strict instructions to keep her record clean or risk losing her scholarship, finds herself at the centre of the investigation when it's revealed that Hugh died in the exact same way as a character in a short story she wrote.

And then Jess receives an anonymous text thanking her for the inspiration.

With time running out, Jess knows if she doesn't solve this mystery she'll finally have something in common with Hugh Henry.

She'll be dead too. 

πŸ“Œ Publication date: 05/01/2023
πŸ“Œ Disclaimer: I received a proof from the publisher for review 

Three reasons why I was excited to read This Book Kills:
⭐ Murder mystery
⭐ Set in a boarding school
⭐ Features a British Indian main character(!)

Jess Choudhary is a scholarship student at an elite boarding school. When a rich and popular student dies, Jess receives a text from the murderer saying they were inspired by the short story she wrote for her Gifted & Talented class. With it becoming increasingly obvious that there are forces set out to block the police from fully investigating, it's up to Jess to get to the bottom of it.

What I like about This Books Kills is that it's more than just a murder mystery. It explores class, privilege, and prejudice. Being one of the few people of colour, who is also from a less affluent background, Jess is held to a different standard to the other students. She is expected to work harder, behave better, and is at risk of losing her scholarship if she steps out of line. 

As a British Indian, this is the first time I've seen myself represented in a book in this genre. I found the things Jess faced so relatable, for example, the microaggressions. Like she's asked where she's really from when she says the UK, and her skin colour is described in terms of food. Her personality too was relatable. She's quiet and awkward, enjoys reading, and prefers to blend in rather than be center of attention. I also appreciated that she was okay with who she was, and wasn't embarrassed about her background and upbringing. Plus, her relationship with her mum was heartwarming.  

As well as being an engrossing murder mystery, I really enjoyed the overarching plot of the book, from the secrets society, to the revelations about people's true nature. The plot twist was great and I honestly did not see it coming. There is a notes section in the proof copy of the book, before the killer is revealed, where you can write down your theories as to who it is, which I think is a clever idea and hope makes it into the final copy. I also want to mention that I don't normally care about the romance in mysteries, if there is one, but this one was very cute and I was rooting for Tommy and Jess from the get go.

I hope Ravena Guron plans on writing more books, because I will definitely be checking them out. 
 
Rating:

Tuesday, 8 November 2022

Review: Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim

In the hidden desert city of Qalia, secret spice magic aw
akens affinities in those who drink the misra tea. With an affinity for iron, seventeen-year-old Imani wields a dagger like no other warrior, garnering her the reputation as the next greatest Shield for battling the dangerous djinn, ghouls, and other monsters that lurk in the sands beyond city limits.

Her reputation has been overshadowed, however, by her brother who tarnished the family name after he was discovered stealing their nation's coveted spice - a tell-tale sign of magical obsession. He disappeared soon after, believed to have died beyond the Forbidden Wastes, and leaving Imani reeling with both betrayal and grief.

But when Imani uncovers evidence her brother may be alive and spreading their nation's magic beyond the desert, she strikes a deal with the Council to find him and bring him back to Qalia before he can reveal the city's location. Accompanied by Qayn, a roguish but handsome djinni, and Taha, a powerful beastseer whose magical talents are matched only by his arrogance, they set out on their mission.

Imani will soon discover there are many secrets that lie beyond the Forbidden Wastes - and in her own heart - but will she find her brother before his betrayals endanger the fate of all of Qalia?

πŸ“Œ Publication date: 24/01/2023
πŸ“Œ Disclaimer: I received an e-arc from the publisher for review   

I first heard about Spice Road on Twitter, and was excited when I saw that Hodder & Stoughton would be publishing it in the UK.

Set in an Arabian inspired world, the magic system in Spice Road is interesting and unique. Imani is a stubborn main character, frustratingly so at times. However, it's a realistic portrayal of a teen, so this is more of an observation than a criticism. I loved her fierce loyalty to her siblings, and thought her sister was a well developed secondary character. 

The romance between Imani and Taha is an enemies-to-maybe-more-to-enemies type situation. I didn't find it to be compelling and am more interested in the potential second love interest, Qayn. Imani is forced to bind with Qayn -who is a djinni with a mysterious past- in order to find her brother. 

The first in a planned trilogy there is a lot of travelling and set up in Spice Road. For me, this is a 3.5 leaning towards 4 star read, I think I will enjoy the sequel more now that the foundation has been set.  

Rating:

Thursday, 25 August 2022

Review: Mindwalker by Kate Dylan

Eighteen-year-old Sil Sarrah is determined to die a legend. In the ten years she's been rescuing imperilled field agents for the Syntex Corporation—by commandeering their minds from afar and leading them to safety—Sil hasn
't lost a single life. And she's not about to start now.

She's got twelve months left on the clock before the supercomputer grafted to her brain kills her, and she's hell-bent on using that time to cement her legacy. Sil's going to be the only Mindwalker to ever pitch a perfect game—even despite the debilitating glitches she's experiencing. But when a critical mission goes south, Sil is forced to flee the very company she once called home.

Desperate to prove she's no traitor, Sil infiltrates the Analog Army, an activist faction working to bring Syntex down. Her plan is to win back her employer's trust by destroying the group from within. Instead, she and the Army's reckless leader, Ryder, uncover a horrifying truth that threatens to undo all the good Sil's ever done.

With her tech rapidly degrading and her new ally keeping dangerous secrets of his own, Sil must find a way to stop Syntex in order to save her friends, her reputation—and maybe even herself. 

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πŸ“Œ Publication date: 01/09/2022
πŸ“Œ Disclaimer: I received an e-arc from the publisher for review   

The last YA sci-fi book I read was Obsidio by Jay Kristoff  and Amie Kaufman. Mindwalker gave me the same feeling I felt when reading Obsidio, not in terms of the plot but in terms of the vibes. It's fast paced, action packed, and fun. I can imagine it as a movie. 

The story is told from the point of view of 18 year old Sil Sarrah. As a Mindwalker for Syntex, she has a unique piece of technology installed in her brain which allows her to help field agents escape from sticky situations by taking control of their mind. She has a perfect track record, however, during a company open day everything goes to hell. 

Mindwalker is set in a future in which technology is heavily relied upon and asks some interesting questions around this. There's also discussion on consent, because in order for a Mindwalker to meld with an agent's mind they have to have their consent. 

I'm not sure if Mindwalker is a standalone, but I was satisfied with how it wrapped up. The way it ends does leave room for a potential sequel, but I'm finding that it's rare for me these days when reading YA to want to read more than the first book. Which is why I like when they don't finish on a cliffhanger. 

Rating:

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Review: The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Carlota Moreau: a young woman, growing up in a distant and luxuriant estate, safe from the conflict and strife of the YucatΓ‘n peninsula. The only daughter of either a genius, or a madman.

Montgomery Laughton: a melancholic overseer with a tragic past and a propensity for alcohol. An outcast wh
o assists Dr. Moreau with his scientific experiments, which are financed by the Lizaldes, owners of magnificent haciendas and plentiful coffers.

The hybrids: the fruits of the Doctor’s labor, destined to blindly obey their creator and remain in the shadows. A motley group of part human, part animal monstrosities.

All of them living in a perfectly balanced and static world, which is jolted by the abrupt arrival of Eduardo Lizalde, the charming and careless son of Doctor Moreau’s patron, who will unwittingly begin a dangerous chain reaction.

For Moreau keeps secrets, Carlota has questions, and in the sweltering heat of the jungle, passions may ignite.The Daughter of Doctor of Moreau is my third book by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Although all her them are different, the one thing they have in common is how atmospheric they are. The picture she paints makes you feel as if you're part of the world. It's loosely based on the The Island of Doctor Moreau by x which I haven't read.

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πŸ“Œ Disclaimer: I received an e-arc from the publisher for review 

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau is the third book I've read by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Although all her books are different, the one thing they have in common is how atmospheric they are. The picture she paints makes you feel as if you're part of the world.
  
This book is loosely based on the Island of Doctor Moreau by H G Wells, which I haven't read. It's set in nineteenth century Mexico and told from the point of view of Carlota and Montgomery. 

Carlota is a naive mc but understandably so. She's content with her quiet and isolated life, all she wants is to please her father who she looks up to. Often you find mcs who want something more, but she's quite the opposite. She's happy to just read about far away places in her pirate filled romance books. However, things get shaken up when two strangers arrive in her life. I enjoyed reading from both her and Montgomery's point of view.   

One thing I will say about Silvia Moreno-Garcia's books is you never know where the story is going or how it's going to end. Although I saw the twist coming with this one it didn't take away from my enjoyment. 

Overall, another creeping and compelling standalone from Silvia Moreno-Garcia. 

Rating: